Learn. Sparkle. Taste. Three simple words open up a world of possibilities for wine lovers and the wine-curious next month. The Maryland Wineries Association presents a three-part event showcasing the best of Maryland wine April 15 and 16 at The Graduate Hotel in Annapolis.
A Maryland Wine Experience is a chance to learn about wines grown in Maryland as well as hear from the winemakers, the winery owners and experts in the field as they talk about wines and why they are so passionate about what they do.
“This event is for anybody who has any interest in wine. It’s an opportunity to come out and learn just how far Maryland wine has come,” says Jim Bauckman, communications director at Grow & Fortify, which represents the Maryland Wineries Association, Brewers Association of Maryland, Maryland Distillers Guild, and others in the value-added agriculture industry.
Bauckman says the event is something his team began planning years ago but had to put on hold due to the pandemic. But now the time is right and enthusiasm is high for locally crafted wines. “There are a lot of expectations and preconceptions about Maryland wine,” says Bauckman. “As we continue to mature as an industry, it’s clear that this is truly a place for high quality wine and a variety of styles made from high quality grapes. Maryland’s uniqueness is expressed through the wines made here.”
Guests can join multiple seminars Saturday led by leaders in the industry. Choose from master classes on blending wines and make a customized Bordeaux blend to take home; an oysters and wine class that will teach you how to pair the two; a class that leads you on an educational walk through tasting wines dating back several decades with the state viticulturist and Al Spoler, co-host of WYPR’s Cellar Notes; and a clever collabs class on the expanding world of beer made with wine, spirits aged in wine barrels, wines aged in spirits barrels—all happening in Maryland. Classes take place at the Graduate Annapolis.
“The whole experience is meant to open up avenues for guests to enjoy and experience Maryland wines in ways that consumers haven’t in the past,” says Bauckman.
Starring Maryland’s best sparkling wines, the Sparkling Reception Saturday afternoon offers enthusiasts an opportunity to explore delicious, bubbly wine. Complete with light hors d’oeuvres, the reception pops the cork off an elegant evening of wine tasting, live music, and fun.
The Grand Tasting Saturday evening features a curated selection of wines that are renowned for their exceptional flavor and quality. The event will present varietals that shine in the state, with comparative tastings of the same varietals from other winemaking regions. Wines included in this tasting session include Maryland-made wine and wine styles from abroad. Learn about the care and consideration that goes into growing and making world-class wines while enjoying live music. An array of scrumptious appetizers is available to attendees of the Grand Tasting.
The full-event package includes admission to two Master Class Sessions, the Sparkling Reception and the Grand Tasting. Guests are also able to attend individual sessions and purchase passes for the Master Class Sessions, the Sparkling Reception and the Grand Tasting. Wines will be available for purchase in the Maryland Wine Bottle Shop.
On Sunday, take a wine tour with Vino 301 to Great Frogs Winery and the Vineyards at Dodon. Join the Vino 301 Tour Ambassador for a customized and guided local winery tour experience that includes transportation, private vineyard tours, meetings with local winemakers, charcuterie, light snacks and bottled water.
Book your stay with Graduate Annapolis and secure a discounted rate for your Maryland Wine Experience.
Bauckman says he hopes visitors will come away from the experience with a broader view of the Maryland wine industry. “Our industry continues to grow more and more diverse. We are seeing more women in the industry and more minority groups are being represented. The first Black-owned winery in the state is also the first fully female-owned winery in the state (Philosophy Winery). Wine is for everyone to enjoy, not just one type of person or demographic. It truly is a drink for everyone.”
Full schedule and tickets here.